Daniel Alfredsson is the longest serving of all active Captains in the NHL. I can't imagine an Alfie-less Sens. I've watched him win the Calder Trophy (for rookie of the year) when he still wore that JOFA helmet. I was there when he took over for Yashin. I was there when he got his hair cut. And I was there when he scored the Overtime goal to send Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Finals. There is no doubt that Alfredsson should be the Captain until he retires from the game, but who takes on the task of filling those shoes.
One might wonder who has the character to lead one of the most scrutinized teams in the league. That was apparently ONE of Heatley's reasons for leaving, was that he wasn't a "face" of the team, that players like Spezza, Neil, and Fisher are the faces of the team. The character of each of these players is unique in their own way, but I don't know who has what it takes to lead our guys.
My first candidate, in no particular order, is Mike Fisher. Mike will be 32-ish when Alfredsson is primed to hang up the skates. Mike has always been a face in the community, and from teh time he spends a CHEO to the Jim Keay Ford TV commercials, people know who Fisher is. He has always been the guy who creates energy, by leading by example, which is good for a Captain. I just don't see him being that guy who can ice the game in overtime. I don't think he cam be the guy who leads a team by scoring goals.
I do believe Spezza can be that Captain, one who leads by scoring. I believe Jason, can mature into a leader for the youth of our team. I would not hand him the reigns today, i don't believe he's ready. Jason will probably get a chance to show his leadership abilities this year, as I have a feeling that he will wear the "A" this year. Before Spezza thinks about wearing a "C" he must mature into a player who does not take bad penalties at clutch times , but kills them.
Lastly, however never least, I think that Chris Kelly could one day wear an "A", and maybe even a "C". Here is a player who is known throughout our community. Kelly, happily, seems to be at almost every Senators team function. Kelly is a very smart hockey player who plays with his heart on his sleeve. I think he can be a presence on the ice, for his teammates. Kelly plays almost every position for us, playing both the 2nd line penalty kill, and sometimes the power play. Kelly will only ever be a 3rd line center, at best, but he could he be the guy that speaks to the players in the dressing room?
I for one am going to cherish Alfredsson for as long as we have him. And who knows, we could draft the leader we will one day in the future. *cough* Cowen *cough*